Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,
been a long time, hasn't it! I'm so sorry that I haven't
kept up my newsletter while I am back in college,
but I do have good news! I only have two semesters left!
I just finished this semester on Tuesday. I'm going to
take some time during Winter break to catch up on my homeschool
writing. I do the spring semester, take summer off, then
go back for three more classes. I plan to do the last
three in the fall of 2009 and finish by Dec 2009; however,
I might put one class off to do in the spring of 2010.
When I'm done, I will have lots to say to you about college!
hope your school year is going great so far. You should be
winding down and taking off for the rest of December — that's
my advice! I hope you enjoy this newsletter.
a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Homeschool Newsletter, December 2008
New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Web site?
Web site: I've
been cleaning up my Web site by fixing broken
links and adding new resources to replace out of date
ones. I've also added a new page: Free Homeschool Curriculum.
Back Astronomy: The Heavens Declare Creation by
Dr. Jason Lisle.
purpose of this book is to provide an introductory
resource in the field of astronomy which interprets
evidences from a biblical creation perspective. The
book explores passages of Scripture which conflict
with the current opinion of the majority of scientists
regarding, among others, the age of the universe, the
so-called "distant starlight problem," and
the idea of extra-terrestrial life.
Lisle's words, "Many people think the creation
versus evolution debate is about evidence, and although
the evidence is important, evidence is always interpreted
through a person's world view. So the debate is really
about world views. The debate is over which interpretation
of the evidence is best. Think about it this way: both
creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence.
They have access to the same fossils and the same rocks.
They study the same principles of genetics, chemistry
and physics. They observe the same universe. Why then
do they draw such different conclusions when it comes
to matters of origins? Ultimately, it is because they
have different world views, and so they interpret the
same evidence differently."
has created this book to help us understand Astronomy
through the biblical world view. There are five chapters:
The Splendor of God's Creation, The Universe Confirms
the Bible, The Age of the Universe, The Bible and Modern
Astronomy, and War of the World Views.
comprehension level is about 9th grade and up, but
used as family reading in small chunks and depending
upon the interest of the child, it could be used for
other grade levels.
includes analogies to help make difficult concepts
easier to grasp, such as showing a balloon expanding
with points on the balloon getting farther away to
explain the concept of the expanding universe. A glossary
in the back of the book helps with definitions of unknown
book is printed on glossy paper and features full-color
photos and illustrations.
Dr. Jason Lisle graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan
University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy
and minored in mathematics. He received his master's
degree and Ph.D. from University of Colorado in Boulder.
highly recommend this book for students who are interested
in astronomy and physics and all students headed for
college. For the general student, I would suggest other
resources from Master Books such as Astronomy by Design.
Without Textbooks -
following is a book review but it's also a great way
to teach without textbooks. I hope you enjoy!
Portfolio Throughout the Year by Barbara
loved this resource as soon as I opened the package! Nature
Portfolio Throughout the Year by Barbara Shukin
is perfect for those of us who enjoy nature and creating
memory albums. The product is well made and should
last a lifetime with care.
Shukin wrote the course for 6-10 year olds, but I would
recommend it for any child who likes this type of learning.
Although it is an introductory science course, it could
be used to provide enrichment activities for older students.
The goal is to complete 1-2 pages a week, but any time
frame could be used.
The book is divided into four sections according to the
seasons. The seasons are then divided into ecosystems:
Yards and Gardens, Woods and Fields, Ponds and Streams,
Desert Lands, and Along the Seashore.
You can purchase the suggested nature guides or use an
encyclopedia or library books to complete the course.
A field guide is highly recommended for outdoor exploration.
Although Shukin has prepared a teacher's guide for the
book, many of you, like me, will go off on your own tangent!
And that's exactly what she wants us to do! Just for
fun, here's how I would use the book
would use it three times a week for science class
during one semester and spend 60-90 minutes each
class. I would choose one season out of the book
to do a year and save the rest for another year.
Each of my lessons would include the following activities
and would be in place of any other science.
would make a list of the animals and plants being
studied for the semester and carry it in my purse
Day 1 of the lesson, I would take the family for
a hike, go to the zoo or natural science museum and
view the subjects of the semester up close.
would have the kids take photos of, draw, and/or
write about the animals that we looked at.
Day 2 and each subsequent day, I would read, as a
family, a children's book or nature guide article
about the subject(s) being studied that day. For
older kids, recommend some other books that they
can read on their own. Search Amazon.com for ideas
ahead of time. (Limit to 5-10 minutes family reading
a family, we would do an internet search for online
resources about the subjects. Use search terms like "millipede
and crafts" or "millipede and color page." Add
other filters like "facts," "webquest," "online
activity," "recipe," or "worksheet." Give
assignments to each child based on what comes up
in this search. Do some as a family or assign individually.
(Limit to 20 minutes family time.)
the picture part of the page using Shukin's included
illustrations. For kids who would rather create their
own, they could use their drawings and photos from
the field trip or search the internet for other illustrations
to use instead of the ones provided. (Limit to 10
minutes family time.)
the appropriate writing form for the day and complete
the writing assignment as Shukin suggested, or for
your creative child, have them write their own text,
story, or poem. For younger children or children
who have difficulty writing, I would have them dictate
to me what they want to say. (Limit to 10 minutes
during the semester that I saw anything related to
our subjects such as TV shows, movies, magazine articles,
etc., I would integrate that in the lessons.
the last day of the semester, I would take another
hike, go to the zoo or natural science museum and
enjoy looking at more of the subjects studied during
the semester. Have a picnic, celebrate, buy your
children a game or puzzle related to a subject as
a reward for a job well done.
This is not a course that homeschoolers who
prefer traditional curriculum will enjoy. I recommend
this for creative, eclectic homeschoolers who like
to do their own thing.
for those like me, I'm positive you will enjoy using
this book as the basis of a family study in nature.
And when you're done, be sure to check off the topics
in The Checklist. This
is a perfect resource for those of you who own The
don't forget! When you're done, be sure to keep track
of your studies in The
to Homeschooling? or Changing Your Teaching Style?
Here are some tips:
Where are you now? Do
some assessment first.
purchase curriculum until you know your child's needs.
is your child now in math? Reading? Grammar? Composition?
is your child's learning style? What is your teaching
style? Do they conflict? How can you merge the two?
What type of curriculum works and what doesn't?
budget do you have available to purchase curriculum?
Determine where you want to go:
goals for each child.
List specific classes and learning
experiences your child will need to take in order to
accomplish the goals for this year.
classes will he take to correct reading, math, grammar
and composition deficiencies?
classes will she take to fulfill graduation requirements.
classes or other resources will he use
to further his career goals?
resources will you use to teach character
building, Bible, and life skills?
Now - Choose how you will get there.
it's time to obtain the curriculum and other resources
to meet your goals.
for freebies on the Internet.
books at the library.
to other homeschoolers about resources they use to
accomplish similar goals. Keep in mind learning styles!
to a homeschool convention. It's a great place to find
out what's available and you will usually get discounts
and save shipping!
to college and trade school book stores. You may find
some great resources there that you never thought of.
through my Curriculum
recommendations, especially if you enjoy multi-level
teaching and unit studies or if you have Visual,
Auditory, or Kinesthetic learners. There are also suggestions
for Career Training resources.
free to use
guide and free
forms to help you plan your spring
term. Some specific forms that will help you are:
School Planning Guide
School Planning Form
- Daily and Weekly
and World History Scope and Sequence Planning Form
Information and Resources:
The Oklahoma Library for the Blind
and Physically Handicapped provides over 52,000
recreational fiction and nonfiction audio and braille books
on loan to people who cannot see to read regular print
or who cannot hold a book due to a physical disability.
Books, playback equipment and catalogs of our collection
are mailed postage-free. The Library also offers on loan
large print and braille textbooks, as well as aids and
equipment to private, public and home schools who have
blind and visually impaired students in pre-kindergarten
to grade 12. For more information, please contact Vicky
Golightly, Public Information Officer, at (405) 522-0526
or toll-free at 1-800-523-0288.
Oklahoma History Online by
Cindy Downes. An online, multi-level curriculum for
teaching Oklahoma History.
Oklahoma Scrapbook: A Travel
Guide and Memory Book for Exploring Oklahoma by
For more info and learning materials about Oklahoma
history, check my website at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/teachOKH.html
Proves Success of Graduates. An article
in the Washington Times talks about the success of
Science Curriculum! Online at Classic
Science. Includes a 36-week elementary life science
course, ages 6-9.
Figures Bookmarks. Print them out and
learn facts about historical figures such as Susan
B. Anthony, Benjamin Franklin and Sacagawea.
Science Academy - Offers Anatomy Camps.
Own Business. Your teen can take this
free online course to learn how to start his own
business. NOTE: You don't have to buy the book or
enroll in the certification program to get the free
Money. Free instruction materials for
teaching kids about money.
Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11
things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks
about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created
a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how
this concept set them up for failure in the real world.
These are the 11 things:
Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!
2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world
will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel
good about yourself.
3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school.
You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you
4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get
5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents
had a different word for burger flipping: they called it
6: If you mess up,it's not your parents' fault, so don't
whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring
as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills,
cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how
cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain
forest from the parasites of your parent's generation,
try delousing the closet in your own room.
8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers,
but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished
failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you
want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest
resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers
off and very few employers are interested in helping you
FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually
have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working
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NOTICE: This newsletter is ©Copyright
2008 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved.
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you seen The Checklist? It's
an assessment tool, lesson planner and K-12 Recordkeeper created
for Christian Home Educators: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html
History Online is
now available! Check it out at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/okhist.html